EU biomass needs to triple by 2020, 66% imported

January 12, 2013
January 12, 2013, London, UK - European demand for wood pellets to produce electricity is seen rising more than three-fold by 2020, as governments offer subsidies for greener energy sources, a report said on Friday.

According to a report in Reuters, wood pellets, which can replace coal in electricity generation, can be part of a pro-environmental policy given their burning results in no net carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels.

Yet the strong growth in demand for such biomass resources has also raised concerns about sustainable sourcing and the fact that their use will likely increase reliance on imports from countries such as Brazil and Canada. Yet biomass is also attractive in a green energy mix because unlike intermittent renewable energy sources like wind or solar it provides stable baseload power.

The demand for wood pellets in Europe will reach 29 million tonnes in 2020, up from 8 million in 2010, Bain analysts estimate.

Yet the majority of Europe's biomass needs, around 66 percent or 19 million tonnes, will have to be imported from outside the continent, mainly from North America, Russia and Brazil, the analysts said.

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